Saudi Prince Sent Hit Squad, Kidnapped Kids: Lawsuit

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Two weeks after the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi Crown Prince is said to have sent a death squad to Canada after a new lawsuit against a former Saudi secret service employee.

Posted on Aug 7, 2020 at 9:25 am ET

Courtesy of the Aljabri family

A team of 50 armed men in civilian clothes and driving unmarked cars arrived early morning on March 16 at the house where Omar and Sarah Aljabri lived in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

They looked for the two siblings, now 22 and 20. The men “woke up [Omar and Sarah] in the early hours of the morning from their beds and “disappeared”, according to a complaint.

“It is now nearly five months after she disappeared and there is not a single sign,” her brother Khalid Aljabri told BuzzFeed News in a phone interview Friday from Canada. “You’re really getting back to the basic question: are you alive or dead?”

The siblings’ father, Saad Aljabri, filed a lawsuit against Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) and other senior Saudi officials in federal court in DC Thursday. He claimed the powerful king was trying to kill him because of his knowledge of the Saudi regime. Other family members, including his brother and nephew, were abducted and tortured to encourage Aljabri to return to the country.

Saad Aljabri, a former civil servant who was ousted from the Saudi government in September 2015, has not seen her since, and the pain is a physical strain on his health. “Dr. Saad was and is tormented by what is happening to his young son and daughter,” the lawsuit said.

Officials from the Saudi Embassy in Washington, DC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Courtesy of the Aljabri family

Saad Aljabri had served in the Saudi government since 1976 and was a long-time advisor to the Crown Prince’s predecessor, Mohammad bin Nayef, until his fall in June 2017 when MBS took over the role. Aljabri served as Minister of State for King Salman and was an integral part of the country’s counterterrorism.

In July 2015, Aljabri met with former CIA director John Brennan and reportedly told him that Crown Prince Mohammed was encouraging Russia’s participation in the Syrian civil war. The Crown Prince removed Aljabri from his post in September.

Decades of experience in the Saudi government gave Aljabri knowledge of the Crown Prince’s “covert political plans”, “corrupt business relationships” and the formation of the hit squad that killed Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. (Western intelligence agencies have said MBS ordered Khashoggi’s death, but the Crown Prince insisted he had no knowledge).

“Few places contain more sensitive, humiliating and harmful information about [the crown prince] than the spirit and memory of Dr. Saad – except perhaps the records that Dr. Saad did in anticipation of his murder, “the lawsuit reads.

Andrew Caballero-Reynolds / Getty Images

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo shakes hands with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh on February 20.

Saad Aljabri claims that in 2018, just two weeks after Khashoggi’s death, MBS sent a hit squad, or “tiger squad,” to Canada, where he lived in exile, to kill him. However, they were prevented from entering the country by Canadian border officials.

This wasn’t the first time the Crown Prince allegedly targeted his children. On the first day of Mohammed bin Salman’s appointment, on June 21, 2017, he issued a travel ban that prevented Sarah and Omar (then 17 and 18) from flying from Saudi Arabia to Boston. Border patrol stopped the siblings. The Crown Prince ignored Aljabri’s WhatsApp messages asking to let his children go, the lawsuit said.

“Here’s how we found out: A FaceTime call from Sarah at the airport, crying,” recalls Khalid. “This is a young girl, age 17, who was delighted when she got her student visa, was excited about life in Boston, and then was told by airport security officers, ‘You cannot travel. ‘She cried, she couldn’t understand. “

Courtesy of the Aljabri family

According to the #SaveJabris website, which was set up to publicize her disappearance, Sarah is an architectural engineering student who was kidnapped a few days after her 20th birthday. Omar is a 22-year-old computer science student at Prince Sultan University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia who regularly helped organize events at the school.

Sarah and Omar had been accepted and paid tuition fees for the International Baccalaureate Program at the British International School and Suffolk University, both in Boston, the complaint said, and both schools had contacted US immigration authorities about their absence.

Three months later, in September, Saad Aljabri asked the Crown Prince to let his children go. The Crown Prince reportedly replied that he would be targeted and killed if he did not return to the Saudi Kingdom.

The whereabouts of Omar and Sarah are still unknown. A tracker on the #SaveJabris website finds that it has been more than 140 days since the alleged kidnapping.

“At the center of this story are a few innocent people like darlings – they have nothing to do with political intrigue, state secrets, or whatever the Saudis are trying to make,” Khalid said. “They are a couple of children. Sarah should be in my mother’s arms again and Omar should be back with my father, teasing and arguing with him. “

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